cappuccino rosette

Are you a coffee lover who wants to know the caffeine content of your favorite coffee drinks - cappuccino and latte? In this ultimate comparison guide, we're breaking down the caffeine content, milk, and brewing methods used in these two popular drinks. Get ready to discover which one will give you the caffeine boost you need for a productive day. Let's dive in and find out!

Cappuccino vs Latte: An Overview

History and Origins

Cappuccino and latte are both popular espresso-based drinks that originated in Italy. The history of the cappuccino dates back to the 16th century when Capuchin monks in Italy wore brown robes that resembled the color of the coffee drink. The name "cappuccino" is derived from these monks, paying homage to their attire.

Latte, on the other hand, initially referred to "caffe latte", which translates to "milk coffee" in Italian. This drink traditionally consisted of a large cup of coffee with warm milk. The modern latte we know and enjoy today evolved as an adaptation of the Italian caffe latte, with the addition of espresso and steamed milk.

Main Ingredients

While both cappuccino and latte are made using espresso and milk, the proportions and preparation methods yield distinct flavors and textures.

  • Cappuccino:

    • Espresso: A standard cappuccino consists of a shot of espresso.
    • Steamed milk: Added in equal parts to the espresso, steamed milk gives the cappuccino its velvety texture.
    • Milk foam: The final component is a layer of frothed milk, which creates a rich and creamy topping.
  • Latte:

    • Espresso: Lattes also begin with a shot of espresso, providing a strong coffee base.
    • Steamed milk: Unlike cappuccino, lattes contain a higher proportion of steamed milk, giving them a creamier and more subtle flavor.
    • Thin layer of milk foam: Lattes are topped with a thin layer of milk foam, resulting in a smoother and more delicate mouthfeel compared to cappuccinos.

Caffeine content is a significant factor for many coffee enthusiasts. A 16-ounce cappuccino and latte both contain approximately 173 mg of caffeine, while a 12-ounce cappuccino holds about 75 mg and a 12-ounce latte has 155 mg. This difference is a result of the varying amounts of milk and espresso used in each beverage.

In conclusion, both cappuccinos and lattes have Italian roots and share the same essential ingredients – espresso and milk. However, the difference in their proportions and preparation methods results in distinct flavors, textures, and caffeine content, catering to various taste preferences.

The Espresso Base

Espresso Extraction

The espresso base in both cappuccinos and lattes plays a crucial role in defining their taste, strength, and caffeine content. Espresso extraction is the process of forcing hot water through finely ground coffee beans at high pressure. This results in a concentrated, rich, and slightly bitter coffee known as espresso. The extraction process is crucial in determining the overall quality and flavor of the espresso. Variables such as water temperature, pressure, and extraction time, as well as the grind size and freshness of the beans, all impact the result. For those keen on serving the finest brews in their cafes or restaurants, investing in a high-quality commercial espresso machine can make all the difference. Whether you're looking to buy a commercial grade espresso maker or simply browsing through espresso machines for commercial use, having the right equipment ensures the best extraction and flavor profile for your beverages.

Single vs Double Shot

When it comes to the amount of espresso used in cappuccinos and lattes, a single shot typically contains 68mg of caffeine, while a double shot doubles that amount to 136mg. For most cappuccinos and lattes, a single shot is the standard; however, some coffee shops and individuals may prefer to use a double shot to increase the intensity and caffeine content of their drinks. Ultimately, this choice depends on personal preference and desired strength.

Single Shot Double Shot
Caffeine 68 mg 136 mg

Caffeine Content

The caffeine content of cappuccinos and lattes is largely determined by the amount of espresso used to create the beverage. As mentioned, a single shot of espresso contains 68mg of caffeine, and since both cappuccinos and lattes typically use a single shot, their caffeine content is usually equal. However, the overall strength and intensity of the drinks differ because of their varying coffee-to-milk ratios.

  • Cappuccinos: equal parts espresso, steamed milk, and milk foam
  • Lattes: ⅓ espresso, ⅔ steamed milk, topped with a thin layer of milk foam

These ratios mean that cappuccinos offer a more robust and intense coffee flavor, while lattes provide a creamier and smoother experience. Although the caffeine content in both drinks remains the same, the mouthfeel and taste will vary due to their different compositions.

Milk in Cappuccino and Latte

Type of Milk

The type of milk used in cappuccinos and lattes can impact their taste, texture, and creaminess. Whole milk is commonly used in both drinks, as it provides a rich and creamy flavor. However, other milk alternatives such as almond, oat, or soy milk can be used to cater to dietary preferences or restrictions.

Whole milk generally has a higher fat content which can create a smoother and richer texture in both the cappuccino and latte. On the other hand, almond and oat milk tend to be lighter and can yield a slightly nutty or sweet flavor.

Steamed and Frothed Milk

In cappuccinos and lattes, milk undergoes two distinct processes: steaming and frothing. Steamed milk is heated and has a velvety texture with little to no foam, while frothed milk contains more air, resulting in a thicker and more bubbly foam.

Cappuccinos are made using equal parts espresso, steamed milk, and milk foam. In contrast, lattes have more steamed milk combined with espresso, and only a small amount of milk foam on top. This difference in milk preparation affects the overall taste and appearance of the final drink:

Cappuccino Latte
Milk Type Equal parts steamed and milk foam More steamed milk, little milk foam
Texture More airy and foamy Creamier and smooth

The steamed milk in lattes creates a smoother, creamier beverage that is less concentrated in coffee flavor, making it a popular choice for those who prefer a milder coffee taste. Cappuccinos, with their equal distribution of steamed and frothed milk, provide a beverage that is a balance between the richness of the espresso and the airiness of the milk foam.

The Art of Foam

Microfoam vs Macrofoam

The art of making coffee foam is crucial to distinguishing cappuccinos and lattes. The difference mainly lies in the texture of the milk foam produced. In the world of coffee, there are two types of foam: microfoam and macrofoam.

Microfoam is a silky, smooth, and glossy foam created by introducing very small air bubbles into the milk during steaming. This type of foam is more suitable for lattes since it integrates well with the espresso, creating a harmonious and balanced drink. On the other hand, macrofoam is characterized by larger, stiffer, and airier bubbles, making it less smooth than microfoam. This type of foam forms the top layer of a cappuccino, providing a fluffy texture that contrasts with the underlying espresso.

To achieve the desired foam type, a skilled barista needs to master the technique of steaming and frothing milk, adjusting the steaming wand's position, angle, and pressure accordingly.

Latte Art

Latte art is a creative and visually appealing addition to a coffee drink, typically made using the microfoam found in lattes. This intricate skill involves pouring steamed milk into a shot of espresso in such a way that a pattern, design, or image emerges on the surface. Common latte art patterns include the heart, rosetta, and tulip.

Baristas who specialize in latte art must be proficient in manipulating milk foam to maintain the proper ratios, consistency, and texture necessary for the artwork to appear. It is important to note that latte art is not typically seen in cappuccinos due to the thicker, airier microfoam.

Achieving impressive latte art requires a good understanding of milk foam, espresso shot quality, and the right equipment. By mastering these elements, baristas can create visually stunning coffee drinks that elevate the overall experience for the customer.

In summary, the art of foam plays a vital role in differentiating cappuccinos and lattes. With varying textures, foam types, and even the possibility of creative latte art, these coffee beverages offer unique experiences for consumers while showcasing the skills of talented baristas.

Comparing Beverage Ratios

Espresso Content

The key factor distinguishing a cappuccino from a latte is the ratio of espresso, milk, and foam in the drink. Both cappuccino and latte contain espresso as the coffee base, but they have different proportions of milk and foam content, which contribute to their distinctive tastes and textures. An espresso serving is typically 25 milliliters, and this remains consistent across both cappuccinos and lattes. However, it's the milk and foam proportions that set them apart from each other.

Milk and Foam Proportions

The milk content of a cappuccino and a latte significantly changes the character and strength of the drink. Here is a comparison of the two beverages’ milk and foam proportions:

  • Cappuccino: A classic cappuccino comprises equal parts of espresso, steamed milk, and milk foam. The total volume usually ranges between 150 to 180 milliliters. The frothy milk foam creates a velvety texture and a strong espresso flavor due to the balanced proportions. Cappuccinos usually have a more robust taste profile and allow the espresso's aromatic characteristics to shine through.

  • Latte: A latte primarily consists of espresso and steamed milk, with a small amount of milk foam on top for coffee designs. Lattes have a larger volume, commonly ranging between 240 and 480 milliliters, making them a milder option compared to cappuccinos. The higher milk content results in a more diluted espresso taste, creating a creamier and smoother beverage experience.

When considering the differences in strength and overall taste, cappuccinos are generally stronger due to the lower milk content, allowing for a more pronounced espresso flavor. In contrast, lattes are considered lighter, as the higher milk content dilutes the espresso taste, presenting a more subtle coffee experience.

Here's a tabular summary of the differences in ratios between the two beverages:

Beverage Espresso Steamed Milk Milk Foam Volume
Cappuccino 1/3 1/3 1/3 150-180ml
Latte 1/6 4/6 1/6 240-480ml

Flavors and Coffee Drinks

Vanilla and Hazelnut Lattes

When it comes to flavored coffee drinks, vanilla and hazelnut lattes are among the most popular choices. A vanilla latte is made by adding vanilla syrup to the traditional latte, which consists of espresso and steamed milk. Similarly, a hazelnut latte involves adding hazelnut syrup to the mix. These flavored lattes offer a delightful twist to the classic coffee beverage, by introducing a hint of sweetness and depth to the taste profile.

Iced Versions

With the increasing popularity of cold brew coffee, iced versions of classic coffee drinks have also become a trend in cafes. An iced latte is a chilled variation of the traditional latte, made by pouring espresso over ice, followed by cold milk. This refreshing version of the classic latte is perfect for those warm summer days when you crave a cool and mild coffee-based beverage.

Cortado, Macchiato & More

Aside from lattes and cappuccinos, there is a wide range of coffee drinks with different flavors and ingredients. A cortado is a small, balanced coffee drink that combines equal parts espresso and steamed milk. It originated in the 17th century, and has influences from Spanish and Portuguese café culture. A cortado offers a smooth and rich taste, with a more pronounced coffee flavor compared to a latte.

A macchiato, on the other hand, is an Italian coffee drink that consists of a shot of espresso, topped with a small amount of milk foam. The name "macchiato" means "stained" or "spotted" in Italian, as the espresso is "stained" with milk. This results in a layered visual effect and an intense, bold coffee flavor.

Other popular coffee drinks include the flat white, which is similar to a latte but has a higher proportion of coffee to milk, resulting in a stronger coffee taste. The mocha combines the flavors of a latte with chocolate, creating a sweet and indulgent treat. An americano is simply espresso diluted with hot water, which produces a mild and smooth coffee taste, while the café au lait pairs strong brewed coffee with steamed milk in a one-to-one ratio.

Variations and Customization

Many cafes, including popular chains like Starbucks, offer a variety of flavors and customization options for coffee drinks. These can include syrups like cinnamon and caramel, as well as different types of milk – such as oat, almond, or soy – to cater to dietary preferences.

In conclusion, coffee lovers can enjoy a wide array of delectable drinks by exploring the diverse world of flavored beverages, various brewing methods, and customizable ingredients. Whether you prefer a rich cappuccino, a smooth latte, or something altogether different, there is a coffee drink that's perfect for you.

Calorie and Nutritional Information

Dairy vs Non-Dairy Milks

When comparing cappuccinos and lattes, one key factor to consider is the type of milk used, as it can greatly impact the calorie and nutritional content. Cappuccinos generally have fewer calories than lattes due to their higher foam-to-milk ratio. A 12-ounce cappuccino made with whole milk has approximately 130 calories, while a 12-ounce latte contains around 210 calories.

Using non-dairy milk substitutes such as almond or oat milk can change the nutritional profile of these beverages. For example, almond milk typically provides fewer calories, making it a popular choice for those seeking a healthier option. However, the protein and carb content will also be affected, so it's important to research and choose the most suitable milk alternative based on individual needs.

Beverage Dairy (Whole Milk) Non-Dairy (Almond Milk)
Cappuccino (12 oz) 130 Calories Varies by brand
Latte (12 oz) 210 Calories Varies by brand

Removing Added Sugars

Both cappuccinos and lattes can be customized to taste, and this often involves the addition of sweeteners, such as sugar or flavored syrups. These extras can add substantial calories and carbohydrates to the beverage, which might impact the overall healthfulness.

To reduce calorie and sugar content, consider the following tips:

  • Choose unsweetened non-dairy milks, as some varieties may contain added sugars.
  • Limit or eliminate flavored syrups, which can significantly increase calorie and sugar content.
  • Opt for natural sweeteners, like stevia, as an alternative to refined sugar.

By keeping these factors in mind, one can better tailor their cappuccino or latte experience to fit their nutritional needs and preferences. The choice between these two popular espresso-based beverages ultimately depends on individual taste and health goals.

Cultural Context and Coffee Shops

Regional Variations

In Italy, the birthplace of both cappuccino and latte, the drinks are traditionally served in ceramic cups. However, regional variations have emerged over time. A classic Italian cappuccino consists of equal parts espresso, steamed milk, and milk froth, while a latte has a higher ratio of steamed milk to espresso. Moreover, Italian cappuccinos are typically enjoyed in the mornings, whereas lattes are consumed throughout the day. In contrast, American coffee shops often serve larger-sized cappuccinos and lattes with more milk, and the usage of additional flavorings, such as chocolate or sweeteners, is common.

When considering the caffeine content per serving, both cappuccino and latte typically use the same amount of espresso, resulting in similar caffeine levels in their standard serving sizes. However, due to the difference in milk content, the caffeine concentration in a cappuccino may be higher than that in a latte. For example, a 16-ounce (475-ml) latte contains approximately 173 mg of caffeine, while a medium-sized cappuccino offers around 68 mg.

Barista Techniques

Different brewing methods, water temperature, and coffee bean quality can also impact the caffeine content in both cappuccino and latte. Baristas play a crucial role in the preparation of these beverages and can employ various techniques to create unique designs and textures with the milk. The incorporation of crema, the golden foam that forms atop a well-brewed espresso shot, also influences the appearance and taste of these beverages.

While the serving size and caffeine content remain essential considerations, the cultural context and techniques used in crafting cappuccinos and lattes also contribute to their overall appeal. From regional variations to barista techniques, these factors help shape the coffee-drinking experience and ultimately influence the preferred choice between cappuccino and latte.

Cappuccino vs Latte: Caffeine Content

When it comes to comparing the caffeine content of cappuccinos and lattes, both popular espresso-based drinks have relatively similar amounts. Typically, a 16-ounce (480-gram) cappuccino and latte each contain approximately 173 mg of caffeine. This is mainly due to the double-shot of espresso used in creating these beverages.

Cappuccinos and lattes differ primarily in their milk content and the way they are prepared. A cappuccino consists of equal parts espresso, steamed milk, and milk foam. On the other hand, a latte has more steamed milk and a smaller amount of milk foam. As a result, cappuccinos have a stronger coffee flavor, whereas lattes are creamier and milder in taste.

The milk used in these drinks can also influence their caffeine content. It is generally recommended to use full-fat milk for best results, but non-fat milk or alternative milk options such as almond, coconut, or oat milk can be used for those who prefer a lighter taste or have dietary restrictions.

Given the similarity in caffeine content, the choice between a cappuccino and a latte often comes down to personal preference. Some may prefer the stronger flavor and texture of a cappuccino, while others might favor the creamier, smoother profile of a latte.


In conclusion, the caffeine content in cappuccinos and lattes is quite similar, with both drinks containing around 173 mg of caffeine per 16-ounce serving. The key differences in their taste and texture come from the proportions of milk and foam used in their preparation. Ultimately, the choice between these two espresso-based drinks depends on individual taste preferences and the desired experience. So, whether you enjoy the strong, bold flavor of a cappuccino or the creamy, mild taste of a latte, you can rest assured that the caffeine kick will be relatively equal.

CappuccinoLatteLatte information
Tony Barlow

Tony Barlow

Majesty Coffee Technical Sales Expert - Meet the Team

Tony Barlow, with over a decade of experience in the coffee industry, is the go-to technical sales expert at Majesty Coffee. He's passionate about helping businesses find the right espresso equipment for their needs.

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